CREATE - Couple Relationships and Transition Experiences

The CREATE project is a pioneering endeavor that fills the gaps in existing marriage research by collecting relationship information from a national sample of around 2,000 recently married couples. Transitions that couples experience in the early years of marriage will be examined, as well as how couples develop marital virtues.

Website: http://www.createstudy.org/ 

Faculty: Jeremy Yorgason, Angela Bradford, Dean Busby, Stephen Duncan, Jeffrey Hill, Erin Holmes, Spencer James, Brian Willoughby

Student Opportunities: Please contact Brian Bradford (brian_bradford@byu.edu) regarding student research opportunities with the CREATE study.

American Families of Faith Project

Dr. Dollahite and Dr. Marks have conducted in-depth interviews with 200 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim couples and families with adolescent children (nearly 500 individuals) from 17 states in all 8 regions of the United States. Over half the families are from various ethnic, national, and cultural minorities.

From these data over 50 scholarly articles and chapters have been published and over 50 presentations have been made at national and international conferences - most have included BYU and LSU students as coauthors.

If you are interested in learning more about the project, please co​​​ntact:

  • Dr. Dollahite at david_dollahite@byu.edu, 801-422-4179 or
  • Dr. Marks at loren_marks@byu.edu, 801-422-0370

Website:http://AmericanFamiliesofFaith.byu.edu, has more information about the project including PDFs of our publications.

Faculty: David Dollahite, Loren Marks

Student Opportunities:

The Multimethod Marriage Education (MMME) Research Project

The Multimethod Marriage Education (MMME) Research Project

This project, beginning in 2014 and having just completed data collection in fall of 2015, seeks to learn which marriage education interventions are most effective for which couples, experimentally comparing traditional, website, and blended approaches to each other and to a control group.

Faculty: Stephen Duncan

Student Opportunities:

Relate Institute

Founded in 1979, the RELATE Institute is a non-profit organization with the specific tasks of developing research and outreach tools that can be used directly with the public and that can be used to gather information about relationships. The consortium consists of a group of scholars, researchers, family life educators, and counselors from varied religious and educational backgrounds who are dedicated to strengthening and understanding premarital and marital relationships. The RELATE Institute also administers and oversee research connected to the RELATE and READY assessment tools. The RELATE questionnaire is the most comprehensive premarital/marital assessment available. This questionnaire was designed for use with individuals or couples who are single and unattached, steady dating, engaged, cohabiting, married, or contemplating remarriage. Tens of thousands of couples and individuals have benefited from these questionnaires during the past 20 years. The RELATE database is exclusively able to address many important research questions about young adult development and couple formation due to its unique combination of large sample size (N = 20,000+ couples) and richness of relationship-related measures. The RELATE team has published dozens of studies on relationship and healthy marriage in some of the leading outlets such as the Journal of Family Psychology, the Journal of Marriage and Family, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Website: www.relateinstitute.com

Faculty: Brian J. Willoughby, Dean Busby, Angela Bradford, Jason Carroll, Jonathan Sandberg

Student Opportunities:

The National Divorce-Decision Making Project 

This project, funded by the School of Family Life and led by a group of leading scholars at 5 universities across North America, is investigating the phenomenon of  divorce ideation, or thinking about divorce. We are exploring what people are thinking when they are thinking about divorce. We have surveyed a nationally representative sample of 3,000 married individuals ages 25-50 in 2015 and will follow up one year later. In addition, we have interviewed in depth a small subsample of the participants of the survey who have had recent thoughts about divorce to get a more personal and detailed view of divorce ideation, and we will also follow-up with them in 2016 to see how things have changed or stayed the same for them. With the results of our research, we hope to be able to help individuals thinking about divorce gain greater clarity about their situation, as well as assist professionals trying to help clients who are struggling in their marriage.

Website: View Report

Faculty: Alan Hawkins

Student Opportunities:

Effectiveness of Relationship and Marriage Education (RME)

Effectiveness of Relationship and Marriage Education (RME)

Through a variety of connections, this project is exploring the effectiveness of relationship and marriage education (RME) programs to help couples form and sustain healthy marriages and relationship. Current projects include an evaluation of how RME impacts relationship hope in the premier Family Expectations program in Oklahoma City. Future projects include analyzing the effectiveness of RME programs supported by the Utah Marriage Commission. 

Website: N/A

Faculty: Alan Hawkins

Student Opportunities:

CHAMPS - Changing Hearts and Minds in Relationships

Dr. Lee Johnson, Dr. Angela Bradford, and Dr. Rick Miller are examining the role of emotional regulation in marriage therapy. Theory states that our brains are set up for safety (fight and flight) and social engagement, which operate through our Autonomic Nervous System. In marital relationships the fight/flight response is experienced as demanding (fight) or withdrawing (flight) behaviors, and social engagement response are experienced as calm and caring. To maintain healthy relationships these two systems must be in balance. However, no research has been conducted examining how this balance works in couple relationships. Research shows that exercise, better sleep habits, reduced stress, empathy, and other enjoyable activities can greatly help people with the balance of regulating their emotions. This study uses MRI scans of clients, daily accelerometer data from clients, in-session physiology data for clients and therapist, and other questionnaires to examine how emotional regulation ideas are key mechanisms of change in clinical couples and families.

Faculty: Lee Johnson, Rick Miller, Angela Bradford

Student Opportunities:

Practive Research Network (PRN)

Dr. Lee Johnson, Dr. Rick Miller, and Dr. Angela Bradford have developed an Internet-based assessment system that can be used by MFTs and other systemically-oriented therapists across the country and the world. The system is designed so that the receptionist or therapist works with clients to complete the assessments before each therapy session. When the client checks-in with the receptionist, he or she will pull-up the client by their initials. The receptionist will then scan the QR code that automatically pops up using an iPad or other electronic tablet. The appropriate assessment measures will then automatically be loaded, and the clients will complete the assessments. Once they are finished, the attending therapist will instantaneously receive a clinical report of the clients' assessments, and the responses will be automatically stored on a secure server at BYU. Data from all clients using the PNR will be available to MFT researchers for use in publications and presentations. Thus, the system, which is free of charge, will facilitate the completion of clinical assessments, which research has shown improves clinical outcomes.  It will also enable the creation of a large, diverse clinical sample for researches to use. 

Faculty: Lee Johnson, Rick Miller, Angela Bradford

Student Opportunities:

MFT Process Research Lab:

MFT Process Research Lab

This lab will have a research therapy room, and observation equipment room, and an exercise and massage room. The purpose of this lab is to examine the details of therapy interactions and the role of physiology on therapy processes and outcomes. The research therapy room will be equipped with multiple cameras, equipment to assess client and therapist physiology during the session, and equipment to be able to assess emotions of therapists and clients via facial expressions. The exercise area will have space for massage, yoga, stationary bikes, and treadmills. This lab will be the source of valuable data on how to improve theory and interventions for marriage and family therapists.

Faculty: Lee Johnson, Rick Miller, Angela Bradford

Student Opportunities:

The Study of Successful Marital and Adult Role Transitions (SMART):

The Study of Successful Marital and Adult Role Transitions (SMART)

To better understand how choices are made during emerging adulthood, the School of Family Life has launched the Study of Successful Marital and Adult Role Transitions (SMART). With a national sample of approximately 5,000 participants, this study focuses on decisions and beliefs in the third decade of life to clarify how young people develop, and it seeks to find what contributes to delays in marriage, negative attitudes about marriage, and nonmarital childbirth. Likewise, the study hopes to determine what leads to successfully forming marriages and families and becoming gainfully employed, financially independent, and healthy, happy, law-abiding members of society.

Faculty:  Larry Nelson

Student Opportunities:

Media Effects on Development from Infancy to Adulthood (MEDIA)

Part of this groundbreaking research project investigates media use and its influence on digital natives (children who have never lived without the Internet) and their families by following a sample of 600 infants and their parents from the Denver, Colorado area, for the next 20 years. It provides an in-depth examination of the critical intersection between media and family life and helps identify the long-term impact of media on children's and families' development.

Faculty:  Sarah Coyne, Laura Walker

Student Opportunities:

The Flourishing Families Project

The Flourishing Families Project is a 10-year longitudinal study of families with a teenage child. Our goal in this project is to identify strengths of families that help both families and children to flourish. The study includes 500 families from Seattle, Washington and nearly 200 families from Provo Utah. It includes 10 years of questionnaire data, 5 years of video recorded and coded family interactions, and one year of adolescent physiology data. The study continues to allow researchers to examine development from the early teen years to emerging adulthood and to identify individual, marital, and family strengths that help to contribute to positive trajectories.

 

Faculty: Laura M. Padilla-Walker, Sarah Coyne, Roy Bean, Justin Dyer

Student Opportunities:

PACIFIC Project

Parents and Children in Families and In Cultures (PACIFIC)

The purpose of the PACIFIC Project is to examine linkages between parenting and preschool children’s social/emotional development across cultures, predominantly within the Asian world.  Both universal and culturally indigenous forms of parenting will be considered.  It also delineates proximal contextual factors (e.g., marital and family environment), as well as mediating and moderating factors that might prove influential in the parent-child behavioral linkages of interest.  We seek to compare and contrast several Asian cultures in order to better understand the diversity of parenting and family environments across these cultures and in the Pan-Asian context.  We are collecting data in China (Dalian), Japan (Chiba), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and Taiwan (Taipei).  These samples will allow for comparisons of model components across East Asian (Japan, China, and Taiwan) and South-East Asian (Malaysia) cultures. These cultures also offer opportunities to gather data in Asian cultures with varying political structures and different religious cultural contexts (e.g., secular China; Japanese Buddhists; Muslim Malay majority, Chinese Buddhist minority in Malaysia). The inclusion of minority Chinese in Malaysia also affords the unique opportunity to consider Chinese parenting inside and outside of mainland China. Our samples also include one in Istanbul, Turkey, which allows for the comparison of secular Muslims in Turkey and Religious Muslims in Malaysia. Finally, we have similar data gathered with Asian immigrant parents in Baltimore, Maryland so that further comparison between Western and Asian samples might be made. We anticipate that data collection will be finalized in 2017.

 

Faculty: David Nelson, Craig Hart, Larry Nelson, Chris Porter, Clyde Robinson, Rick Miller, Charissa Cheah (colleague at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County)